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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Updated 11:28 a.m.:

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill R...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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Rotarians enjoy Ansel Adams retrospective


U.S. National Archives
Art history lecturer Kay Payne showcased Ansel Adams’ work, including the above photo, “Glacier National Park” (1941), in her Dec. 12 presentation for the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

Los Altos resident Kay Payne, art history lecturer in charge of the Community Speakers’ Program for San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums, presented a retrospective of famed photographer Ansel Adams’ work for members of the Rotary Club of Los Altos Dec. 12.

“I knew my destiny when I first visited Yosemite,” said Adams, who became the unofficial champion of America’s national parks.

According to Payne, in 1916, the 14-year-old Adams received his first Kodak Brownie Box Camera. From his perch atop a crumbling tree stump in Yosemite, he unexpectedly tumbled while snapping a shot of the forest upside down – a new way of looking at nature. Every year thereafter, he returned to Yosemite, eventually composing a visual diary of its wilderness.

With his early 1921 “Lodgepole Pines” shot, Adams felt “a photo should look like a watercolor,” Payne said. Later he sought clarity, so he used a standard K2 yellow filter on Half Dome, gleaming in the sun and partly obscured in shadow. In his 1927 “Monolith,” he progressed to a red filter and reduced the exposure by a factor of 14 to enhance the tonal values, thus intensifying its emotional impact.

Adams traveled 1,200 miles through New Mexico in 1927, taking black-and-white photos. Payne said he urged his students to keep accurate records of their photographs and evaluate their compositions with large cardboard frames before wasting film. At that time, his photos sold for approximately $10, the equivalent of $160 today, Payne noted. Today his prints sell for thousands of dollars.

The father of Peter Starr, Stanford University’s famed but fallen mountain climber, asked Adams to photograph the majesty and danger of the High Sierra’s Minarets, Payne said. Adams produced a series of half-tone photographs using continuous tones from white to black to emphasize his emotional response to the wilderness. The photographer gradually developed a “zone system,” she added, to control the tonal range of his prints: technical excellence with a strong emotional interpretation. He sought a predictable result typified by radiant light. His Cadillac’s license plate touted “Zone 5,” according to Payne.

Although Adams produced approximately 3,000 color images, he felt that working in color was “like playing an untuned piano,” Payne said, for he preferred the abstract element of working in black and white. Some of his finest works, such as “El Capitan,” were shot on Polaroid Land cameras of the 1940s.

From the 1920s until his death in 1984, Adams was respected as a fervent champion of the national parks, Payne said, adding that he preferred calling them “reserves” rather than “parks,” for he felt that everyone should touch “the living rock.” He would walk for days without seeing people, cooking over a campfire and recording his impressions of untouched nature.

Mount Ansel Adams near the southeast entry to Yosemite National Park awaited its name until 1985, the first anniversary of Adams’ death.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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